Organising and storing photos. Advice please!

Bennie Boy

Standard Member
Like most people nowadays I have thousands of photos. They are currently stored either on my iphone or on a fairly old PC.

I'm interested to know what options I have to sort and store my photos. I will probably getting rid of my old PC so I have to do something.

I'm thinking of getting software that will sort through my photos, removing duplicates and then storing them probably on icloud.

Has anyone done anything similar?

Thanks in advance,



Active Member
Ive just downloaded Amazon Photos app to get the free £7. Further details below.

Looks like it could be pretty handy but not checked it out properly yet. I imagine long term either limits on the storage amount or a tiered costing might be brought in. Either that or its designed to make cancelling prime more and more difficult to do.

I wouldnt put it all on cloud so would either regularly back up to local storage or back up to cloud from local storage.


I've just sorted all mine manually into folders for specific years then specific 'events' and backed up onto two external drives.

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
I wouldn't trust all my photos to one method.
Currently, I have them all stored on an external HDD, and the very important ones (I used to shoot weddings, so have loads of them) on DVD-R discs, which are duplicated and the guy who was my partner shooting them has the copies (and I have his copies).
I addition I have them on Google Drive.
I've looked at a number of cloud storage options for all my data backup, but yet to find something suitable (and suitably priced).


Well-known Member
Organisation is best done with DAM (digital asset management) software.

I use the management tools in Adobe Lightroom Classic as that is also my main photo editor. There are DAM tools that are not tied to any photo editor if that is they way you prefer.

What you need to do first is decide on a filing system. I use year folders (2021, 2020, etc) and dated sub folders in those year folders. A photo taken on Feb 3rd 2010 would be in a folder whose path is as follows: \Photos\2021\2021-02-03\

If you use the date format yyyy-mm-dd files/folders automatically sort in date order.

Once you have copied all the photos into one location in your preferred folder system then further organisation is done in the DAM software. Give the photos keywords. It will take time doing it from scratch but if you do a few at a time you will eventually build up a nice keyword list and have everything with at least some basic keywords. I tend only give photos I actually edit more comprehensive keywords.

Now you can easily find photos by using keyword searches and and use other ways of cataloguing based on photo metadata and you don't have to root through lots of folders finding things.

Make sure everything is backed up regularly. I use external hard disks for local backups and I use an online backup service - Backblaze - for backing everything up in the cloud.


Distinguished Member
Not just Photos ! - Vids and digital Art, , 3D designs...etc.
. . . . This is a topic that needs care and trust... e.g. digital photo formats can be lost as can discs and the software to read them.
I suspect HDD are about as reliable as one can reasonably expect. although the "Cloud" has technical back-up, there is no G'tee it will survive a world-wide hacking, for example.
If your HDDs are in a RAID case that "should" confer some L-T benefits.... but finding somewhere to keep this unit could be problematic . Obviously: away from excess heat, lightning, flood, theft. fire. etc. but these are v.difficult to overcome - - - as is failure of the RAID motherboard in the casing. This might suggest two Raid set-ups using different Manufacturers. . . . so their MTBF are totally skewed.
Searching for the necessary photo is quite separate, IMHO - but any software (or Cloud)solution has L-T risks - and significant Cost, in perpetuity. .... as does checking your RAID boxes.

Good Luck - Keep us informed...


Active Member
I save my photos to two seperate NAS drives


Distinguished Member
@Bennie Boy lots of good options already in the thread. Essentially on your own disk or nas, or a cloud option.

Storing is maybe the easiest step, it's the sorting and organizing to find what you need that is difficult if you haven't been doing that as you have gone along. I found this list of tools that I'm going to check out as I have a similar problem Best Photo Management Software 2021: Digital Picture Image Organizer

However I expect I'll take the same route as @snerkler and do it manually not sure I trust the algorithms.


Well-known Member
This is something i'm looking at right now. I have family photo's going back 15-20 years on my laptop and stored on an ex HDD, but i want to upload them to a cloud service as a back up.

I have saved many photo's in Google Photo's in the past of things taken on my phone - which is now taken up 6gb of the 15gb free allowance on google photo's.

Seeing as i will need more to copy over the thousands on the laptop, would it be worth paying for a service like iCloud, Amazon or Google?

If so, does one really have a big advantage over the other?


Distinguished Member
Ok, so I have -

Original set on my PC Harddrive, all photos RAW and JPG plus edited photos.
Back up done approx monthly on NAS
Back up done about every three months on usb drive stored in fire safe
JPG files stored on Flickr - easy to access and share.

All organised in Events > Year > activity, plus other folders for family, garden, cars, projects, house, misc bits Etc.

Phones and iPads auto upload to Flickr.


Active Member
I'm looking for same thing for a Windows PC. I have about 50,000 photos in one directory with probably about 50 sub-directories but no real organisation. Some are from digital cameras, some from phones. Would like to be able to read and index EXIP info if possible though not all the photos have it. Plus the photos have been moved several times so create and last change in Windows aren't accurate enough.

Most of the photos are now in my Google photos account but its not great at reading metadata.

I've had a look at Picajet but it just crashes when I try and search by date.


Active Member
There's quite a few re-namers out there that can take the exif data and rename the file to fit in with mobile phone naming scheme, ie IMG_yyyymmdd_hhmmss.

I organise mine into folders like: "yyyy\ — event name" if it was a particular trip or event. Any generic photos just stay in the year folder.


2018\2018.06.12 - Trip to London
2018\2018.09.23 - Secret Holiday Trip
2021\2021.01.01 - New Years Day Walk
2021\2021.03.24 - Visit to the Zoo
Last edited:


Distinguished Member
If you name then then they will always be in date order when you order them by name


Well-known Member
Yes yyyy-mm-dd is the superior date format. Proper sorting by default and no confusion about dates due to different countries conventions.

Reese Withouterspoon

Well-known Member
I'm fairly terrified to even venture into this discussion, given that I don't have the foggiest idea what many of you are even talking about... but I have been contemplating the issue of photo storage myself recently. Currently I store all my photos on my laptop and although I do have an external hard drive, I no longer use it as I can never work out how to only save my photos on it. It always seems to try to back up my entire laptop... so I have given up on it.

I have a lot of very old family photos which I have digitised, as well as more recent photos, such as those taken on holidays. It would be nice to be able to have something a bit more portable in order to be able to show photos to other people. I can see that it is possible to buy digital photo frames which will hold a limited number of images but I suspect that this would be nowhere near large enough for my needs. It would be handy to have a dedicated device for all my photographs. Is it possible to buy what I suppose is in effect a digital photo album, which would allow me to store and display all my photos - but nothing else?

Sadly, I'm a bit of a twit when it comes to understanding how much storage space a device has and it would be more meaningful to know how many photos I might be able to store, rather than having it cited in KB, MB or GBs.

Hopefully someone might be able to offer some handy advice. Thanks in advance.


Well-known Member
I have a copy of photos on 2 drives on local machine and a copy on the nas , (in the garage) also a copy in google photos, ~140,000 photos , and they take up 1.5TB these are a mix of raw and jpeg ,
i have kept my original file format , i have a folder for year , then sub folder for month , all photos for the month are kept here , unfortunately its a bit of a nightmare trying to find a specific event , thats where the copy on google comes in , or if i was feeling particularly nerdy i may have inserted keywords to the exif .. (very seldom )


Distinguished Member
Post #19 - you are not alone:- it seems every gadget wants to sell you their sizzle, but conveniently forgets how you will create the "Back-Office" - Look at User-Manuals and see all the stupid effects you can apply to photos, etc. - yet there's no mention of a decent filing system.
HDD are ( Still, IMHO), the most reliable back-up, provided they are not abused. After many years they will fail, so you need a second one to copy the contents as a back-up. +Store them separately.
If a HDD has lasted 5-years - it needs to be yesterday.
The good thing is that storage-cost is falling.
Many Ext-Drives came with software to "help" but I find them confusing - and they will change in a year anyway. Sadly PCs are not organised to be helpful - they appear to enjoy making it difficult as do the suppliers of "bare" HDDs - isn't it time they were Formatted? We can change the format later but I'd like to see my new drive is working first. Grr.

Good Luck.

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